Saturday, 12 November 2011

Christmas Countdown Project 12 - Mini Christmas Cakes

Time for another cooking project! These mini Christmas cakes are simple to make and great little gift ideas. I used Delia's Christmas Cake Recipe and divided it equally between the baked bean cans and it made 10. Next time I would probably fill them less full and make twelve. You can decorate them however you like, like this idea on the BBC Good Food site
Wrapped in a cellophane bag, they would make a nice present. You could also make an 8" square cake and just cut it into tiny cubes, or even just buy a plain one, cut it into cubes, decorate it and then make decorative cake boxes.
You need to make the cake now to mature.
You will need:
A quantity of Christmas cake mixture (If it is enough for an 8" tin it will make 10-12 mini cakes depending on how full you fill the tins.)
4 or 6 Small bake bean tins/spaghetti tins
Baking parchment to line the tins
Newspaper and string to externally wrap the cake tins during baking
1. Christmas cake is relatively easy to make. The main things to remember are weigh accurately and pre-soak the dried fruit in the specified amount of brandy the night before yo intend to make it, so that the fruit is juicy. 
Just check of the list of ingredients carefully to make sure it is all in.  I have been using Delia's recipe for years, but I do alter it slightly to my taste. I substitute things, but never miss anything out, for instance, I like more cherries than peel, so I make sure the total weight of peel and cherries remains the same, but I alter the balance to more cherries and a lot less peel. You can't really go wrong and the mixture is very forgiving, so you can leave it covered and bake the cakes in batches as I did to minimise the number of tins you need.
2. The tins - This is the biggest effort of the whole thing, preparing the tins. I used two value pack three small tins of baked beans.
Open the tins using the ring pull and remove the beans. Remove the label and wash and dry the tin cans thoroughly, being careful not to cut yourself.
To line the tin, you need a double layer of baking parchment. As an ex-cookery teacher I was taught to do it like this video clip here, except that I place one of the circle layers in the base of the tin, then add the side lining, then the second layer of paper on the top. I also grease the tin lightly with oil before I start and after I have finished lining it. Make sure your side paper lining collar comes above the edge of the tin slightly. Taking time at this stage means it is much easier later to turn the cakes out and reline the the tins for the next set.
3. Place some mixture in each tin until it comes within half an inch from the top of the tin itself. Level the surface with a knife. Place two sheets of folded newspaper on a baking tray and sit the tins on the top of it.
4. Make an external collar of newspaper (double thickness) and tie it around the outside of the tin with string. These makes the cooking procedure more slow and even, resulting in a better cake. The paper gets warm but does not catch fire in the oven on a low temperature needed to cook this cake long and slowly.
Here is my first batch in the oven. I also balance a sheet of baking parchment across the top of all the tins so the tops do not get to burned and brown. Mine took about 1hr 30 mins on 150 degrees in my oven to cook, but test the centre using a skewer and if it comes out clean, they are cooked. Leave to cool in the tins for a short while. Then tip them out (they should come out easily with the baking parchment still attached). Leave the baking parchment on them until they have cooled over night. meanwhile, you can line the tins again and cook the second batch. (See the batch at the back have their tins removed)
5. Next morning, peel off the baking parchment carefully and then wrap the cakes individually in a new piece of greaseproof paper and store in a cake tin until Christmas. You could "feed " them once or twice with Brandy over the next couple of weeks, but stabbing the bottom with a skewer and dripping Brandy or Whisky into the holes with a teaspoon. Don't overdo it though! I don't bother with this stage at all.
6. Nearer Christmas, cover the top with Ready roll Marzipan and icing, sticking it down using melted apricot jam on a pastry brush. Decorate as required. If you have a Craft Robo or similar you could design a collar to tie around it, like a cupcake collar! But I don't have one :(
Join me tomorrow for another crafting project! TFLx

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. This is just what I'm looking for! Kate